Chairman Cllr Alan Shepherd writes: 

This report is being written some time in advance of the Council meeting as the Chair of Finance will be not be at the meeting on 6th December. Apart from the Finance Committee meeting on 8th November there has been significant activity on the finance front since the last full council meeting. No doubt either Councillor Prior or Councillor Michael will be providing a further update on some of the points raised below at the full council meeting.

As Councillors will be aware the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) required the Council to provide evidence indicating support from residents in respect of the effect of the loan repayments on the Precept. By coincidence the Finance Committee meeting was around the same time and hence, after consideration of the budget requests submitted, we were able to include a reasonably accurate assessment of both the likely level of the precept for next year and the impact of the loan repayments on the precept. This impact was included in the online and paper survey currently in course. We will be taking into account the responses received when making our recommendation to council in January as to the level of the precept for 2017/18.

On the precept point, we are still awaiting details from SDC as to the amount of the government tax based grant along with other information relating to the payroll from NALC both which will have an effect upon the level of precept. Hopefully these details will have been received by the time of our next meeting.

At the committee meeting we also considered the grant applications. The committee decided to decline applications where the application requirements had not been met e.g. received outside the deadline and where no financial annual accounts had been provided. It was disappointing to note that there were less applications received than in previous years.

The committee is also arranging for the normal half year audit to be carried out. Concern was expressed that our Internal Auditor had been carrying out this task for some years notwithstanding SDC and other advice that there should be regular changes of internal auditor. We will therefore be looking at this point at our next meeting.